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PREFACE TO THE FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN.
GOSPEL. Chap. ii. 8. I write to you a new commandment. Chap. xii. 34. A new commandment I give unto
you, Chap. ii. 11. This is the
heard That ye love one another, as I have loved you. from the beginning, that ye should love one another.
Chap. ii. 8. The darkness passeth away, and the Chap. i. 5. The light shineth in darkness. light which is true now shineth.
Ver. 9. That was the true light. Ver. 10. Abideth in the light, and there is no Chap. xi. 10. If a man walk in the night he stumstumbling-block to him.
bleth, because there is no light in him. Chap. ii. 13. Young children, I write to you, Chap. xvii. 3. This is the eternal life, that they because ye have known the Father.
might know thee, the only true God. Ver. 14. Because ye have known him from the And Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. beginning
Chap. iii. 8, 9. Every one who worketh righteous- Chap. iii. 3. Except a man be begotten again ; ness is begotten of God. See also chap. v. 1. ver. 5: Except a man be begotten of water and of
the Spirit. Chap. i. 1. Behold how great love the Father hath Chap. i. 12. To them he gave power to become the bestowed on us, that we should be called the sons of sons of God, even to them who believe on his name. God!
Chap. iii. 2. We shall be like him, for we shall see Chap. xvii. 24. Be with me where I am, that they him as he is.
may behold my glory. Chap. iii. 8. He who worketh sin is of the devil ; Chap. viii. 44. Ye are of your father the devil; he for the devil sinneth from the beginning.
was a murderer from the beginning. Chap. iii. 13. Do not wonder, my brethren, that Chap. xv. 20. If they have persecuted me, they the world hateth you.
will also persecute you. Chap. iv. 9. By this the love of God was manifested, Chap. iii. 16. God so loved the world that he gave that God sent his Son, the only-begotten, into the his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on world, that we might live through him.
him might not perish, but have eternal life. Chap. iv. 12. No man hath seen God at any time. Chap. i. 18. No man hath seen God at any time.
Chap. v. 13. These things I have written to you, Chap. xx. 31. These things are written that fe who believe on the name of the Son of God, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son oi may know that ye have eternal life; and that ye may God; and that believing ye might have life through believe in the name of the Son of God.
his name. Chap. v. 14. If we ask any thing according to his Chap. xiv. 14. If ye shall ask any thing in my will, he heareth us.
name, I will do it. Chap. v. 20. The Son of God is come, and hath Chap. xvii. 2. Thou hast given him power over al given us an understanding, that we may know him flesh, that he might give eternal life to as many as that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in thou hast given him. Ver. 3: And this is the eternal his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eter- life, that they might know thee, the only true God nal life.
and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.
“ From the above comparison of the First Epistle of John with his gospel, there appears such an exact agreement of sentiment in the two writings that no reader, who is capable of discerning what is peculiar in an author's turn of thinking, can entertain the least doubt of their being the productions of one and the same writer. Further, since John has not mentioned his own name in his gospel, the want of his name in the epistle is no proof that it was not written by him; but rather a presumption that it is his; especially as he has sufficiently discovered himself to be an apostle, by affirming in the beginning of the epistle that he was an eye and an ear witness of the things he has written concerning the living Word.
“ The style of this epistle being the same with the style of the Gospel of John, it is, by that internal mark likewise, denoted to be his writing. In his gospel, John does not content himself with simply affirming or denying a thing; but, to strengthen his affirmation, he denies the contrary. In like manner, to strengthen his denial of a thing, he affirms its coiltrary. See John i. 20; iii. 36; v. 22. The same manner of expressing things strongly, is found in this epistle; for example, chap. ii. 4: 'He who saith, I have known him, and doth not keep his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.' Ver. 27: “The same
PREFACE TO THE FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN.
unction teacheth you concerning all things, and is truth, and is no lie.' Chap. iv. 2 : 'Every spirit which confesseth that Jesus Christ hath come in the flesh, is from God' Ver. 3: And every spirit which doth not confess that Jesus Christ hath come in the flesh, s not from God.'
“ In his gospel likewise, John, to express things emphatically, frequently uses the demontrative pronoun this. Chap. i. 19: Aůrn This is the testimony.' Chap. iii. 19: Aúrn' This is the condemnation, that light,' &c. Chap. vi. 29: Touto This is the work of God.' 'er. 40: Tovro This is the will of him.' Ver. 50: Otroç: This is the bread which ometh down from heaven.' Chap. xvii. 3: Aútn • This is the eternal life. In the epistle le same emphatical manner of expression is found, chap. i. 5; ii. 25: “ This is the promise.' hap. iii. 23: Aůrn: This is the commandment.' Chap. v. 3: Aún: "This is the love of fod.' Ver. 4: This is the victory.' Ver. 6: Ouroç. This is he who came by water.' er. 14: Aury. This is the boldness which we have with him.' “Such is the internal evidence on which all Christians, from the beginning, have received e First Epistle of John as really written by him, and of divine authority, although his ime is not mentioned in the inscription, nor in any part of the epistle.”
On the term epistle, as applied to this work of St. John, it may be necessary to make a w remarks. There is properly nothing of the epistolary style in this work: it is addressed ither to any particular person, nor to any church. The writer does not mention himself either in the beginning or ending ; and, althoug is can be no objection against its authenticity, yet it is some proof that the work was never tended to be considered in the light of an epistle. 1. Is it a tract or dissertation upon the more sublime parts of Christianity? 2. Is it a ilemical discourse against heretics, particularly the Gnostics, or some of their teachers, ho were disturbing the churches where John dwelt? 3. Is it a sermon, the subject of which God's love to man in the mission of Jesus Christ; from which our obligations to love and rve him are particularly inferred? 4. Or is it a collection of Christian aphorisms, made by ohn himself; and put together as they occurred to his mind, without any intended order or ethod ? Much might be said on all these heads of inquiry; and the issue would be, that le idea of its being an epistle of any kind must be relinquished ; and yet epistle is its eneral denomination through all antiquity.
It is a matter, however, of little importance what its title may be, or to what species of terary composition it belongs; while we know that it is the genuine work of St. John; of he holiest man who ever breathed; of one who was most intimately acquainted with the octrine and mind of his Lord; of one who was admitted to the closest fellowship with his aviour; and who has treated of the deepest things that can be experienced or comprehended n the Christian life.
As to distinct heads of discourse, it does not appear to me that any were intended by the postle; he wrote just as the subjects occurred to his mind, or rather as the Holy Spirit gave him utterance; and, although technical order is not here to be expected, yet nothing like disorder or confusion can be found in the whole work.
As Professor Michaelis has considered it in the light of a polemical treatise, written against the Gnostics, and other false teachers of that time, I have thought it right to give his view of the work considered in this light; but as I, in general, pursue another plan of interpretation in the notes, I have inserted his elucidations in the preceding pages of this preface.
On the controverted text of the three heavenly Witnesses I have said what truth and a deep and thorough examination of the subject have obliged me to say. I am satisfied that it
PREFACE TO THE FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN.
is not genuine, though the doctrine in behalf of which it has been originally introduced into the epistle is a doctrine of the highest importance, and most positively revealed in various parts both of the Old and New Testament. The stress which has been laid on the testimony of this text in behalf of the doctrine of the Trinity has done much evil; for when its own authenticity has come to be critically examined, and has been found to rest on no sure foundation, the adversaries of the doctrine itself have thought they had full cause for triumph, and have in effect said, “If this text be to the epistle, and to the doctrine in question, what the sun is in the world, what the heart is in man, and what the needle is in the mariner's compass, then the doctrine is spurious, for the text is a most manifest forgery." I would just observe, that incautious or feeble defences of any doctrine do not affect the doctrine itself but in the view of superficial minds. The proof that this text is an interpolation which, first existing as an illustrative marginal note, has afterwards been unfortunately introduced into the text, has " demolished no strong hold of the orthodox, has taken away no pillar from the Christian faith.” The grand defences of the doctrine of the Trinity, brought down to us from the highest Christian antiquity, stand still in all their force; not one of them was built upon this text, because the text, as a supposed part of St. John's work, did not then exist; therefore neither evidence, prop, nor pillar of the grand doctrine is injured. We have what we ever had in this respect, and we may make the same illustrating use of the words in reference to this doctrine which many Latin writers, since the time of St. Cyprian, made; and which was proper enough in its own place, but became useless when incorporated with the sure sayings of God.
No man, it is hoped, will be so obstinate, perverse, or disingenuous, as to say or insinuate that the man who gives up this text is unsound in the faith; it would be as reasonable to assert, on the other hand, that he who understands the mass of evidence that is against the authenticity of this verse, and who nevertheless will contend for its continuance in the sacred canon, is a Deist in his heart, and endeavours to discredit the truth by mixing it with error and falsehood. Those whose doubts are not removed by the dissertation at the end of this epistle had better read the late Professor Porson's Answer to Dean Travis, where it is presumed they will receive the fullest satisfaction.
THE FIRST GENERAL EPISTLE
Chronological Notes relative to this Epistle.
Year of the Constantinopolitan era of the world, or that used by the Byzantine historians, and other eastern
writers, 6577.-Year of the Alexandrian era of the world, 5571.-Year of the Antiochian era of the world, 5561.— Year of the world, according to archbishop Usher, 4073.—Year of the world, according to Eusebius, in his Chronicon, 4297.—Year of the minor Jewish era of the world, or that in common use, 3829.— Year of the Greater Rabbinical era of the world, 4428.— Year from the Flood, according to archbishop Usher, and the English Bible, 2417.—Year of the Cali Yuga, or Indian era of the Deluge, 3171.— Year of the era of Iphitus, or since the first commencement of the Olympic games, 1009.—Year of the era of Nabonassar, king of Babylon, 818.—Year of the CCXIIth Olympiad, 1.-Year from the building of Rome, according to Fabius Pictor, 816.— Year from the building of Rome, according to Frontinus, 820.—Year from the building of Rome, according to the Fasti Capitolini, 821.-Year from the building of Rome, according to Varro, which was that most generally used, 822.— Year of the era of the Seleucidæ, 381.— Year of the Cæsarean era of Antioch, 117.-Year of the Julian era, 114.— Year of the Spanish era, 107.—Year from the birth of Jesus Christ, according to archbishop Usher, 73.—Year of the vulgar era of Christ's nativity, 69.— Year of Vologesus, king of the Parthians, 20.—Year of the Dionysian period, or Easter Cycle, 70.— Year of the Grecian Cycle of nineteen years, or Common Golden Number. 13 : or the fifth embolismic. Year of the Jewish Cycle of nineteen years, 10; or the year before the fourth embolismic. — Year of the Solar Cycle, 22—Dominical Letter, it being the first year after the Bissextile or Leap-year, A. - Day of the Jewish Passover, the twenty-fourth of March, which happened in this year on the sixth day after the Jewish Sabbath.—Easter Sunday, the twenty-sixth of March.-Epact, or age of the moon on the 22nd of March (the day of the earliest Easter Sunday possible), 12.- Epact, according to the
present mode of computation, or the moon's age on New Year's day, or the Calends of January, 20. - Monthly Epacts, or age of the moon on the Calends of each month respectively (beginning with January), 20, 22, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27, 27, 28, 0, 0, 2, 2.—Number of Direction, or the number of days from the twenty-first of March to the Jewish Passover, 3.-In this year reigned four Roman emperors, viz. Galba, from Jan. 1 to Jan. 15, Otho ninety days, Vitellius eight months, and Vespasian for the remainder of the year.-Roman Consuls, Servius Sulpicius Galba Augustus, the second time, and Titus Vinius Rufinus, from Jan. 1 to the death of Galba, Jan. 15; Salvius Otho Augustus, and L. Salvius Otho Titianus, from Jan. 15 to March 1; L. Verginius Rufus, and Vopiscus Pompeius Silvanus, from March 1 to May 1; Titus Arrius Antoninus and P. Marius Celsus, the second time, from May 1 to Sept. 1; C. Fabius Valens and Aulus Alienus Cecina, from Sept. 1, the former holding the Consulship to Nov. 1, the latter being succeeded by Roscius Regulus, on Oct. 31 ; Cn. Cæcilius Simplex and C. Quintius Atticus, from Nov. 1, to the end of the year.
The testimony of the apostle concerning the reality of the person and doctrine of Christ ;
and the end for which he bears this testimony, 1-4. God is light, and none can have fellowship with him who do not walk in the light ; those who walk in the light are cleansed from all unrighteousness by the blood of Christ, 5—7. No man can say that he has not sinned; but God is faithful and just to cleanse from all unrighteousness them who confess their sins, 8-10.
A. M. cir. 4073.
St. John's testimony
concerning Jesus Christ. THAT "which was from the declare we unto you, that ye 2.cire more Impp. Galba, beginning, which we have also may have fellowship with Impp. Galba, Othone, Vitel. et
Othone, Vitel, et Vespasiano.
heard, which we have seen us: and truly k our fellowship Vespasiano.
with our eyes, which we have is with the Father, and with looked upon, and our hands have handled, his Son Jesus Christ. of the Word of life ;
4 And these things write we unto you,
that 2 (For the Life was manifested, and we your joy may be full. have seen it, and bear witness, 8 and shew 5 m This then is the message which we have unto you
that eternal Life, which was with heard of him, and declare unto you, that " God the Father, and was manifested unto us;) is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 3 i That which we have seen and heard 6 ° If we say that we have fellowship with
a John i. l. Ch, ii. 13. John i. 14. 2 Pet. i. 16. Ch.
20. k John xvii, 11. 1 Cor. i. 9. Ch. i. ! iv. 14. --c Luke xxiv. 39. John xx. 27.-d John i. 4. xi, 25. xiv. 6. Le Rom. xvi. 26. 1 Tim. iii. 16. Ch. m. 5. 11. 9. viii, 12. ix. 5. xii. 35, 36.
1 John xv. 11. xvi. 24. 2 John 12.-m Ch.iii, 11.
02 Cor, vi. 14. Ch. ü, 4 John xxi. 24. Acts ii. 32. -Ch, v. 20. -h John i. 1, 2.
NOTES ON CHAP. I.
thoroughly cleansed from all sin, and filled with the Verse 1. That which was from the beginning] That fulness of God. glorious personage, Jesus Christ the Lord, who was Verse 5. This then is the message] This is the from eternity ; him, being manifested in the flesh, we grand principle on which all depends, which we har have heard proclaim the doctrine of eternal life ; with heard of an'avtov, FROM him ; for neither Nioses na our own eyes have we seen him, not transiently, for we the prophets ever gave that full instruction concerahave looked upon him frequently; and our hands have ing God and communion with him which Jesus Chr: handled—frequently touched, his person; and we have has given, for the only-begotten Son, who was in ta had every proof of the identity and reality of this bosom of the Father, has alone declared the fulnea glorious being that our senses of hearing, å aknroajev, of the truth, and the extent of the blessings which seeing, ò èwpakauev toig opda/pois nuwv, and feeling, believers on him are to receive. See John i. 18. και αι χειρες ημων εψηλαφησαν, could possibly require. God is light] The source of wisdom, knowledge
Verse 2. For the Life was manifested] The Lord holiness, and happiness ; and in him is no darken Jesus, who is the creator of all things, and the foun- at all—no ignorance, no imperfection, no sinfulnes tain of life to all sentient and intellectual beings, and no misery. And from him wisdom, knowledge, bolfrom whom eternal life and happiness come, was ness, and happiness are received by every believing manifested in the flesh, and we have seen him, and soul. This is the grand message of the gospel, chi in consequence bear witness to him as the fountain great principle on which the happiness of man deperda
. and author of eternal life ; for he who was from Ligut implies every essential excellence, especidl
; eternity with the Father was manifested unto us his wisdom, holiness, and happiness. Darkness impliss apostles, and to the whole of the Jewish nation, and all imperfection, and principally ignorance, sinfulues, preached that doctrine of eternal life which I have and misery. Light is the purest, the most subtile. before delivered to the world in my gospel, and the most useful, and the most diffusive of all Gut's which I now farther confirm by this epistle.
creatures ; it is, therefore, a very proper emblem ! Verse 3. That which we have seen and heard] We the purity, perfection, and goodness of the divisie deliver nothing by hearsay, nothing by tradition, nature. God is to human souls what the light is a nothing fro conjecture; we have had the fullest the world ; without the latter all would be dis certainty of all that we write and preach.
and uncomfortable, and terror and death wat That ye also may have fellowship with us] That ye universally prevail; and without an indwelling Grad may be preserved from all false doctrine, and have a what is religion ? Without his all-penetrating and real participation with us apostles of the grace, diffusive light, what is the soul of man? Religion peace, love, and life of God; which communion we would be an empty science, a dead letter, a systra have with God the Father, who hath loved us, and unauthoritated and uninfluencing; and the soz given his Son Jesus Christ to redeem us; and with trackless wilderness, a howling waste, full of er: his Son Jesus Christ, who laid down his life for the of terror and dismay, and ever racked with realisi: life of the world, and through whom, being God anticipations of future, successive, permanent, sutmanifested in the flesh, we have union with G are stantial, and endless misery. No wonder the apretle made partakers of the divine nature, and dwell in lays this down as a first and grand principle, stating God, and God in us.
it to be the essential message which he had received Verse 4. That your joy may be full.] Ye have from Christ to deliver to the world. already tasted that the Lord is good; but I am now Verse 6. If we say that we have fellowship] Having going to show you the height of your Christian call- fellowship, koivwvia, communion, with God, nectsing, that your happiness may be complete, being sarily implies a partaking of the divine nature. Now